I’m in my favorite coffee shop, drinking coffee way too late in the day, but determined to get some serious thinking down before going home…or at least, wait until the place closes and I have no choice but to go home. With everything that goes wrong and is spread across the media, discussing it with my dad is the last thing I want to do.
I’ve noticed a trend whereby social media seems to be quiet about some really bad thing that happened for at least the first 12-24 hours. But the next day all hell breaks loose, and I bet my Facebook feed’s going to blow up the way YouTube has about these London attacks today.
I don’t know how to feel about the event outside Parliament, except virtual hugs and best wishes for recovery and strength to all in London right now. So far, the media hasn’t disclosed the assailant’s name or place, purpose, anything. The words “attack” and “terrorist” are being flung around interchangeably. I’m reserving judgment on who this person is and why they did it, but I know the media won’t be so kind as soon as another snippet comes along.
Amazingly, so far, the FUX news site’s being a bit quiet about the matter (I admit I didn’t do a deep search). But I bet the channel will be blaring when I get home, and I don’t want to even say anything about it.
I don’t know why, exactly, but my dad and I are almost poles apart on politics these days. Before this election, we were pretty much on the same page. Now, with Dump in office, we’ll never see eye to eye on anything. So, to preserve the peace, I go in the office and put on my headphones (so partly-deaf-dad can listen to his FUX news at full volume and I don’t) and we don’t talk.
Partly thanks to this chasm, I’m more and more tempted every day to pack up and move to be with my sister-by-choice and her family, even though there’s no way I could afford it. Every political discussion’s becoming an argument unless I cut and run.
We used to both make fun of FUX news, but now it’s all he watches. And I swear the vitriol gets worse with each “event.” I think the only time dad and I ever had a crazy bad fight was because of the election. I was so angry and hurt by what he was saying that I nearly left the house to go to a motel if I had to hear another damned word of it.
And now tonight, I’m likely in the same boat. I’m remembering that awfulness where he did everything short of call me a fucking idiot (I could tell he was trying not to when he–somewhat slowly–told me to use my “college-trained brain.”). I was hoping to do some learning, but he was making excuses for Dump’s behavior and I had to stop listening or else I was REALLY gonna let loose.
And if you read the post about mom and I from before Christmas, you know how THAT worked out.
But I don’t want to discuss it with anyone I know, because somehow these little snippets of racism and prejudice I’d barely heard when I was a teenager (or younger) are suddenly, nakedly there. I guess parents try to curb their prejudices around little ears but don’t bother when the kids are older. Is it a half-assed way to explain that “the world’s not a pretty place and it’s about time you got the facts (aka, what I consider facts, but are in fact prejudices I kept quiet from you)”?
I’ll get home and I know dad will be listening to FUX news, and will be yelling about Muslim murderers, as will about half the people I have as Facebook friends come tomorrow morning. Hell, they’re already doing it on the little YouTube snippets of news that have come out. Scrolling down, so much venom and hate.
And we don’t even have the full story yet.
I have to wonder, is it wrong to not hate? I’m having a hard time standing still and standing alone. I can’t explain my reasoning, which I know will piss off a ton of people, but I can’t hate–even if it’s proven to be a Muslim that did it. I can’t sit there and condemn all Muslims for the actions of one.
For one thing, I’m tired of hearing things like: “Do you know what Muslims believe?” “Don’t you know that no devout Muslim can really obey American laws?” “Don’t you know Muslims are supposed to kill every Christian and Jew they find if they’re to get to heaven?”
If I’m to be honest–no, I don’t know.
I don’t know because all we know about Islam and the Muslim communities around the world is rumor and hearsay. We don’t educate ourselves about Islam and it’s fundamentals, we don’t talk to Muslims to understand where the Koran, the Torah, and the Bible all have their similarities and differences. We don’t care to know them. We’re too damned arrogant to realize that there are billions of other people out there in the world and they don’t all think America is the best thing since sliced bread.
And we wonder why. And then we wonder why they hate us. And then we wonder why a few buildings collapsed in 2001.
Why should they care about us? We’ve never given a damn about them.
You know, this is what I figured out was bothering me a few hours ago, and the main reason I don’t want to go home right now.
I am feeling pressured to hate.
I am paranoid enough to believe that people who suggest all Muslims need to be wiped off the face of the earth really want me to just spout the same racist, prejudiced, malicious things they keep saying…even if they say it in measured tones instead of Hitler-style shrieks. But I can’t fake an emotion like that–I can’t fake being happy, and I can’t fake being hateful. I’m a terrible liar.
I can’t waste my time hating people because they’re not white or “Christian” like me–is that what these people in my life actually want? I won’t waste my time (and besides, I’m not much of a “Christian”, per se–don’t even go to church. I think some of what’s attributed to Jesus is great, but beyond that…I’d rather just leave this world a better place than I found it for my fellow humans, rather than spend time figuring out what God likes and hates.)
I’ve said that “going along” just doesn’t cut it for me anymore–I’d rather not say a word than appease someone else’s ego by agreeing with them. It’s funny, because nobody’s really asked my opinion much recently. They believe–not without reason, I suppose–that I won’t agree with them or fake it, so they don’t bother. I’m “liberal leaning,” but down here it would be construed as “bleeding-heart.”
I don’t want to go home because I don’t have an answer for my feelings, only that I can’t agree that all Muslims are murderers and they will never conform to Western ideals. I can’t answer for my opinions, because they’re feelings. I can’t find it in me to reach the point–mentally or emotionally–where I believe a certain group of people don’t deserve the right to breathe.
And in the next few weeks, that might just be a dangerous viewpoint.
I don’t want to go home because the words–should they be used–will cut deeper than any knife or strike would.
I don’t want to go home because I’ll have to face the fact that I’m a child trapped in an adult body, dependent on living at home still because I’ve been a thorough failure on making things happen for myself. I have to suck it up and take what’s dished out verbally, lest my home feel like it’s not my own anymore.
I don’t want to go home because it feels too much like when I lived with my mother and we never got along. I left her house to go back to dad’s…but now, I have nowhere else to go. It feels too familiar, and I can’t even get on the same page with the man anymore because I swear his hearing’s getting worse and he’s only half paying attention anyway. I give up too easily, I admit, when I realize he’s frustrated and trying to make a point…but apparently he didn’t hear me right because I’d made the same point already. So he thinks I’m an idiot when I was actually in agreement, because he’s not listening.
We’re not close anymore, and that’s why I don’t want to go home.
But if being close means I have to mirror what I did with my mom a decade ago, that I have to nod my head with everything said to keep the peace, then it’s just not worth it.
I can’t do that at home, or at work, or anywhere…not anymore. It’s that “burning bridges” thing again, I guess.
A few months before the 2016 election, I wrote to some friends that thanks to this incredible hate dripping from every outlet and interaction, I was far more afraid of my neighbors than any foreign terrorist.
…and it’s still true.